(PRESS RELEASE) – As of February 16, 2020, the WHO reported a total of 51,174 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from China.
There are now 683 confirmed cases in 25 countries which include: Thailand (34), Japan (53), the Republic of Korea (29), Vietnam (16), Singapore (72), Australia (15), Malaysia (22), Cambodia (1), Philippines (3), Nepal (1), Sri Lanka (1), India (3), United States of America (15), Canada (7), France (12), Finland (1), Germany (16), Italy (3), Russian Federation (2), United Kingdom (9), Belgium (1), Spain (2), Sweden (1) and United Arab Emirates (8), Egypt (1). The cases on an international conveyance that is the cruise liner in Japan (355).
A third death of a COVID-19 patient has been reported outside of China. This individual was a tourist from China visiting France.
There are no Corona Virus cases in St. Lucia or the Caribbean region.
The Department of Health and Wellness reports that the four quarantined nationals have all been released from quarantine. They all remained asymptomatic during their period of observation.
Corona viruses cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-nCoV). The signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. In the severe cases of the diseases pneumonia may develop severe respiratory syndrome and death. This new strain has not been previously identified in humans. Presently there is limited information on the characterization of the behavior of the virus, the severity of infection and the levels of transmissibility.
The Department of Health and Wellness continues to strengthen its preparedness plans to manage the threat of the Corona Virus. In an effort to identify the gaps in our level of preparedness, a review/ de-briefing of the management of the suspect COVID-19 case which arrived into Saint Lucia on Tuesday 11, 2020 is scheduled.
In the interim, the public is asked to continue practicing the standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection. These include:
regular hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer where soap and water is not available.
cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and sneezing.
avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
seek medical attention and share your travel history with your health care provider if you have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel.